Get Smart about taking a risk

by Cyle Talley

Has the time change got you feeling listless? Tired of the same old routine? Let Candiss White, apparel buyer for Gardenswartz Outdoors, tell you about her first skydiving adventure and taking the occasional risk to spice things up a bit.

So, what prompted the skydiving adventure?

My best friend and I turn 30 within a month of each other, and it was our “Dirty 30 Bucket List Challenge.” It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. My dad was a jumper for the Air Force, and I found his jump logs and parachute once upon a time when I was a kid.

So what happened?

We went through Skydive Moab, and I couldn’t recommend them more. They made us feel comfortable, bringing some humor into a funky, scary situation. We got to watch a couple of jumpers land smoothly before we went, which really helped. There were a couple of videos, we read all the waivers and then signed our lives away. We suited up in funky jumpsuits and the full body harness while they told us what to expect once we were up there: how to get out of the plane, what to do in the freefall and what to do when landing. We packed into this little 1956 retro airplane with not an inch of room left inside of it. The pilot reached across me to open the door and it was complete shock and awe. The best of the feelings all at once. I felt alive and crazy and stupid all at once. It took about an hour of education, the flight up took 20 minutes, and we jumped at 10,000 feet above Canyonlands, looking down at the desert on a beautiful day. Our guides, Nick and Daniel, were great, and their calm demeanor totally helped.

That easy, eh?

My friends who had gone told me that the moment you jump wasn’t a big deal, that you don’t feel like you’re free-falling, that it would be really comfortable to jump out of the plane and that the wind resistance makes you feel like it’s holding you back. I call bullshit. It definitely feels like you’re falling out of the sky. You do a roll, like a flip, out of the plane and you’re reaching terminal velocity and all I could think was, “THIS IS HAPPENING!” Maybe a little panic, but also extreme fun. I had the biggest smile on my face and it was actually very comfortable, even in the freefall. After the first 10 seconds, everything smooths out and you can actually hear pretty well. My tandem was talking to me, even as we were careening toward the earth, looking around at the scenery, and it became really comfortable.

The chute pulls and –

You get rocked around for a second and then there’s the biggest feeling of relief, maybe ever. “Thank god, the chute opened. I’m a lucky bitch.” Then the adrenaline kicked in, and I got a little more conscious of what’s happening. My guide and I were at the same level of stoke, so we’re sharing that together. I looked above me to see my friend’s chute open, which was great because hey, we might live to see our 31st birthdays!

Did you scream?

I screamed, “My life is [bleep]ing amazing!!!”

What’s important to you about taking risks?

As cliché as it sounds, you only live once and your tomorrows aren’t promised, so fill your days with as much fun as you can. Live it, love it; it’s soul food. This one experience has given me fuel for my week, and it’ll gives me the energy to push through the last 10 weeks of grad school.

What would you say to the people who think you’re nuts?

I’m not nuts, I’m happy. We all have our different comfort zones and we all get our kicks from different thrills. I think there’re other people out there who are way crazier than I could ever be. Especially in a town like this, where the bar for nuts is set pretty high.

So risk directly equates to happiness?

Taking risks has been the venue for most of my life lessons. I’ve learned a lot about myself and others, about how to handle stress. I grew up on the river and have been on it all of my life and so I equate life lessons with it. You’ll have your holes, your calm patches, your pools, your flips and your swims; but you’ll also have days when you’re high and dry in your boat with your friends enjoying the day and loving life. It’s about the journey and the wisdom you gain along the way.

Cyle Talley would not be screaming about how amazing life is while careening toward the earth. If there’s something you’d like to Get Smart about, email him at: [email protected]


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